Offered is an original German First World War ‘screw back’ Iron Cross 1st Class. 41.5 mm wide, silver metal cross ‘vaulted’ pattée with a blackened cross pattée (some service wear to face) within a hatched border imposed; the face with a central ‘W’ (for Wilhelm), a crown above, the date ‘1914’ below; the reverse with a period replaced screw back post & fixing nut for wear to uniform, with a silver content stamp 900 (90% silver purity). The cross is a good original piece, with a very good original finish to iron core centre, showing period modification for field wear.
The Iron Cross was instituted on 10 March 1813 by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia during the War of Liberation against the Napoleonic French forces. It was reinstated in 1870-1871 for the Franco-Prussian War and again in 1914 for World War I. It is awarded for bravery. In spite of its iconic image and fame, it has always been made of modest materials and issued in relatively large numbers. It was designed by the neo-classical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and reflects the cross of the Teutonic Knights in the late Middle Ages which was also the emblem of Frederick the Great.